To recap the last few days.... Monday afternoon I discovered a major glitch with our network at the office. It looked as if all of our switches had lost their minds and were suddenly flooding unicast traffic to all the ports. Needless to say this is not proper behavior in the least, especially not for over $3M in Cisco gear. However, since I discovered the problem at around 3:50 or so that afternoon I wasn't too inclined to stay late and try fixing it. When I came in Tuesday morning I sat down, ran a couple quick diagnostics to make sure I wasn't seeing things and then opened a case with the Technical Assistance Center (TAC). I know when I'm outclassed by a problem, and that one certainly had me bollixed. What was cool was that I got a call back from a TAC engineer about seven minutes after I opened the case, and he was very patient while I described the problem for him. The good news is that he knew exactly why our network was misbehaving. The bad news is that the problem lies in a fundamental design characteristic of our network infrastructure. That doesn't mean the fix is terribly difficult, we just have to try to keep it in mind as we move forward with our ever-expanding growth.
Within about 45 minutes or so I had everything buttoned up and running smooth again. That set the mood for the rest of my day . It wasn't particularly exciting, I attended one meeting and ended up skipping another. We did lunch at a nearby Mexican-themed restaurant called "Coyote's." When we're there we almost always get the lunch buffet, which isn't very expansive but can be quite filling. My coworkers and I decided to sit at one of the outdoor tables, where we chatted for a good hour and a half, sipped our drinks, ate our food and enjoyed the gorgeous weather. I must say that Tuesday was probably one of the best days I've seen this entire summer for an experience like that, and I'm glad we decided to jump on the chance. Good food, good company, good shade and nice temperatures. I'm not sure when something like that is going to happen again. Life's all about the little moments, after all, so I'm keeping that one tucked nicely away. In the afternoon I got my first taste of working with IP multicasting, which is a rather interesting beast. I wish there was an online course I could take on this because it's one of those protocols that is completely deceptive: on the surface it seems simple and straightforward to troubleshoot and configure because the concept behind it isn't exactly rocket science. But the deeper down you go the more difficult it becomes because you're making the supporting network technology do things it wasn't really meant to do when you run multicasting -- so now the kludges and workarounds start appearing and cluttering up what used to be a simple thing.
Technology is beautiful in its tendency to be so deceptive. I guess that's why I'm addicted to it.
Today was not such a hot day. I came in to discover that my purchase requisition for a critical license and software package has once again been bounced. It's frustrating when you know that your employer has just (foolishly) spent over $700,000 on a software package that you can download for FREE off the Internet... but they won't cough up $9,500 for a piece of paper and the media you need to move forward with another major project. Attached to the deflected requisition was a post-it telling me that I would have to redo the paperwork (small surprise), that I was to schedule a demonstration of the product and that I couldn't use a budget that I'd been told to use before. The second thing, the dog-and-pony show, that's what really started to set me into a foul mood. How can I dog-and-pony something I don't even have installed? Welcome to Catch-22 hell: We won't let you buy the license without a demonstration, you can't demonstrate it without the software and the license you want to buy. Additionally, the top brass in the IT department want to see this demonstration. It would seem that in my boss's mind I can set up this software and have it in showcase readiness within 4 weeks or so (assuming I were to get the license tomorrow) without any training whatsoever on this product. I shot back a reply e-mail telling him that he was sorely mistaken and that I will not put my career's head through that noose anytime soon. I either get the training before the demonstration or I just cease working on the project. Hell, they're lucky I'm familiar with this package's bastard cousin or I wouldn't be even able to guess where to start with the software's installation -- it's that complex, yes.
So the mood for the rest of the day was set by that note and my manager's continuing incompetence. Since our office is being visited by a group of bigwigs next week our fearless leaders designated today a "spring cleaning" day. Everyone was throwing things out of their cubes: books, old memos, old software... you name it, it was getting pitched. The noise was horrendous and quickly started to grate on my already frazzled nerves. Thanks to this noise and the preoccupation of my coworkers towards getting their desks cleaned it was nearly impossible for me to get any cooperation in troubleshooting and testing a firewall issue I was working. In the end I wound up having to take matters into my own hands: I stormed into my coworker's cube, grabbed his keyboard, set up an account for myself on the afflicted server and then went back to my own desk to login and do the necessary testing. That was sort of the straw that broke my back, once I got that cross and frustrated there's no going back for the rest of the day. It was impossible for me to cheer up throughout the rest of the day -- regardless of the absence of my buffon boss -- and I spent a vast portion of it wanting to tell my coworkers to sod off and leave me alone. I am not a well-balanced individual sometimes.
Tonight I'm trying to relax. I'll be dipping into the gin and tonic shortly. I've got the MP3s playing, I'm going to do a little database restructuring on my MFF art show database system, and then probably call it a night a little earlier than usual. Maybe if I get a good night's sleep tonight I'll be in a better mood tomorrow.
If I could leave my burning skin